Top 14 Portugal Beaches

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Portugal is a country with a history dominated by its long coastline; from the days of being a great sea power, its fishing industry and most recently tourism. Combined with an excellent climate it is little wonder Portugal is one of Europe's most popular beach holiday destinations.

There is a great choice of beaches in Portugal and these differ widely in every respect. The Estoril coast near Lisbon has a series of cosmopolitan city beaches whilst the beaches of the Algarve are characterised by azure waters and fantastical rock formations.

Although the climate is Mediterranean unlike other countries in Southern Europe Portugal has an Atlantic coast which faces into the full force of the ocean waves. Many of the west coast beaches are excellent for surfing and tend to be vast expanses of golden sand.

Portugal's beaches are generally clean and this is reflected in a number of Blue Flag award beaches - a sure sign of a pollution-free, family friendly beach.

The Best Portuguese Beaches...

  • 1. Guincho Beach // Lisbon

    Guincho Beach

    Guincho beach, near Cascais, is not what many people imagine when thinking of the archetypal Portuguese beach. Despite being within an hour of the capital, Lisbon, Guincho has a wild desolate feel. Well, except for the summer months when it doesn't!

    This wide stretch of fine, golden sand sits in the shadow of the forested hills of Sintra, one of Portugal's most beautiful towns. To the north are high cliffs… read more »

  • 2. Benagil Beach // Algarve

    Benagil Beach
    © Sven Grüne

    Like many others on the Algarve, Benagil was a small fishing village. Unlike many others Benagil has managed to retain some of its charm and a little of its industry. Along with the sandstone cliffs, clear waters and golden sand of this archetypal Algarvian cove you will find fishing boats, baskets and nets and a few of the fishermen who still work from here. Despite its appeals the beach at… read more »

  • 3. Praia de São Rafael // Algarve

    Praia de São Rafael

    Located approximately four kilometres to the west of Albufeira old town centre, Praia de São Rafael is a Blue Flag beach recognised officially for its cleanliness. It marries the rich blue of the sea with a wide triangle of golden sand. This is edged by attractive rocky cliffs the colour of butter and biscuits which are etched with caves and grottoes and are perhaps best explored by renting a… read more »

  • 4. Praia do Camilo // Algarve

    Praia do Camilo
    © Frank Nürnberger

    A pleasant 30 minute stroll from the historic heart of Lagos, Praia do Camilo is accessed via a wooden staircase of around 200 steps which wind among the ochre-coloured cliffs, enclosing its sands almost entirely. The result is one of the Algarve's most iconic beaches.

    Praia do Camilo is relatively small in size, with the high tide covering up to half its area. A popular escape from Lagos, it does… read more »

  • 5. Praia da Bordeira // Algarve

    Praia da Bordeira
    © CanStockPhoto

    Bordeira beach is located on the wild, western coast of the Algarve which is a very different place to the resort beaches further south. This magnificent stretch of wide open golden sand is pounded by the full force of the Atlantic waves making it one of the most popular surf spots in the Algarve region. One of the lovely things about Bordeira is it is virtually unspoilt; there are over… read more »

  • 6. Praia da Marinha // Algarve

    Praia da Marinha
    © Inacio Pires / 123RF

    Ocre coloured cliffs are a trademark of the coves of the central Algarve, as are the amazing rock formations and clear aquamarine waters. However, with the possible exception of Praia Dona Ana in Lagos, nowhere are these rocks as spectacular as at Praia da Marinha.

    Over the millennia the ocean has carved the limestone cliffs here into various arches, caves and pinnacles making this one of the most photographed beaches… read more »

  • 7. Praia da Rocha // Algarve

    Praia da Rocha
    © CanStockPhoto

    Praia da Rocha is one of the Algarve's best known and certainly most impressive beaches. A vast expanse of golden sand backed by the ochre coloured sandstone cliffs unique to this stretch of the Algarve. The beach's name translates to 'rock beach' and this refers to the numerous rock formations that punctuate the golden sand towards the western end.

    Being located on the doorstep of Portimão, one of the Algarve's… read more »

  • 8. Praia de Odeceixe // Algarve

    Praia de Odeceixe
    Otávio Nogueira

    Situated within Costa Vicentina Natural Park, Praia de Odeceixe is a Blue Flag beach on the north-western edge of the Algarve. Formed from a promontory on the southern side of the estuary of the Ribeira de Seixe River, the beach consists of soft sand separating the river from the Atlantic Ocean and providing two options for swimming.

    Praia de Odeceixe stretches out for around 330 metres from a small hillside town… read more »

  • 9. Costa da Caparica // Lisbon

    Costa da Caparica
    © sam74100

    Located just across the bridge from Lisbon is Costa da Caparica. This resort town is little known outside of Portugal, but incredibly popular with Lisbon locals during the summer months.

    It is easy to see why; a seemingly endless expanse of fine golden sand facing into the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean provide a string of beaches, each with their own charms and character. The majority of beachgoers don't make… read more »

  • 10. Ilha Deserta // Algarve

    Ilha Deserta
    © Animaris / CC BY

    Ilha Deserta means deserted island and this small sandy isle just off the coast of Faro lives up to its name. At 7km (5 miles) long the island has plenty of beach for all of its zero permanent inhabitants. Even in the height of summer you would be unfortunate if you had to share your stretch of beach with more than a few others - not like the nearby beaches… read more »

  • 11. Meia Praia // Algarve

    Meia Praia

    Situated between the town of Lagos and the mouth of the Ribeira de Odiaxere river, Meia Praia is the region's longest area of beach. Providing plenty of space even during the busy summer period, Meia Praia has a total length of around four kilometres, but still has a calm and understated atmosphere compared to many other beaches in the Algarve. The most popular part of the beach tends to… read more »

  • 12. Praia do Amado // Algarve

    Praia do Amado
    Aires Almeida

    Praia do Amado is found on the Algarve’s west coast, within the Costa Vicentina Natural Park. Surrounded by a series of low grassy hills and cliffs, its broad expanse comprises rich golden sands sweeping into the shallows and an area of shingle and seashells behind.

    However, there’s still plenty of space for everyone who visits, with the sands stretching for around one kilometre in length along multiple connected bays.… read more »

  • 13. Praia dos Pescadores // Algarve

    Praia dos Pescadores
    Sean MacEntee

    Praia dos Pescadores (or Fisherman’s Beach) is a Blue Flag beach which forms one stretch of golden sand running along the coastal side of Albufeira. A stone’s throw from the old town, as well as places to eat, drink and sleep, this beach is unsurprisingly popular with Algarve locals as well as those on holiday in the region.

    Named after the spot in town where fishermen historically hauled their boats… read more »

  • 14. Praia da Salema // Algarve

    Praia da Salema
    Jose Goncalves

    Praia da Salema, or Salema Beach, is a Blue Flag beach by the village of the same name known for its dinosaur footprints. Facing south, it is a stretch of sand approximately a kilometre in length. Relatively undeveloped because of its location within Vincente Coast Natural Park, Praia da Salema manages to maintain its traditional atmosphere, with fishermen continuing to haul their boats onto the beach between the short rows… read more »